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high school sports

Port Jeff had its hands full when the 11-2 Hauppauge boys lacrosse team came knocking. In the Royals’ final game of the season, they fell to the Eagles 11-6 Saturday morning, May 13.

Freshman Rowan Casey notched three goals. Ryan Filippi and Patrick Johnson scored, and senior Jonah Pflaster also stretched the net in the Div. II matchup. Freshman goalie Owen Whiffen had a busy day in net with 17 saves.

The Royals conclude their 2023 campaign with wins against Bellport, North Babylon and Deer Park.

— Photos by Bill Landon

At 11-3, the Port Jefferson Royals — the defending Long Island champions — sat comfortably in second place, enjoying an 11-game winning streak. That is until the 3-10 Amityville Warriors came to town. 

In the second of a three-game series at Diamond in the Pines on Thursday, May 4, the Warriors snapped the Royals’ streak. The Warriors scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning, taking the lead. Port Jeff made a pitching change the following inning, but the bats went quiet, unable to rally back, falling to Amityville 7-3. 

Ruairi Rago managed the only hit for the Royals on the day while finding his way home. Teammate Natti Mullen crossed the plate twice. 

The deciding contest of this series took place the following afternoon, May 5, when each team put double-digit runs on the scoreboard. The Royals scored two more, though, winning the game 12-10 and taking two out of three games against the Warriors.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Lady Royals of Port Jefferson, the Suffolk Class C Long Island Championship title holders, advanced to the New York State semifinal round, where they matched up against Section IX champion Millbrook at Farmingdale State College.

Port Jeff faced a stout defense as Millbrook dominated the boards, converting missed shots into points while containing the potent Royal offensive senior corp of Lola Idir, Amy Whitman and Alexa Ayotte to just 27 points between them. 

Millbrook stretched their legs and outpaced the Royals, cruising to a 61-30 victory in the Saturday, March 11 contest.

Atop the leaderboard in Suffolk County’s scoring, Idir finished her varsity career in 4th place countywide, according to Newsday, with 70 field goals, 84 free throws and 83 triples while averaging 21­­.5 points per game. 

Port Jefferson concludes its 2022-23 campaign undefeated in their division at 12-0, with an impressive 16-3 overall record.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The grapplers of Port Jefferson narrowly missed top honors in the Robert Fallot Memorial Suffolk County Div. II wrestling championships at Mattituck High School on Saturday, Feb. 11.

With an overall team score of 220.5 points, the Royals were just 10 points shy of top-placed finisher John Glenn. Shoreham-Wading River placed third, with 192 points, and Mount Sinai followed with 159.5. 

Port Jefferson’s Liam Rogers and SWR’s Thomas Palumbo made it to the final round. Mount Sinai’s Derek Menechino reached the final round at 126 pounds. Shoreham’s Gavin Mangano took top honors at 110 pounds, along with Brayden Fahrbach of Mount Sinai at 132 pounds.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Div. V Port Jefferson girls basketball squad had its hands full on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in a home game against Sachem North, a competitive Div. II team. The Royals gave their visitors a run for their money, fighting until the final buzzer. 

Seeking to build upon the positive momentum generated during their non-league victory over Westhampton on Dec. 2, the Royals trailed by just two points with 11 seconds left on the clock. Port Jeff inbounded the ball with three seconds remaining but could not get a shot off, falling to the Flaming Arrows, 48-46. 

Seniors Lola Idir and Amy Whitman led the way for the Royals. Idir had nine field goals, a three-pointer and eight free throws for 29 points. Whitman banked in nine points in the game. 

The Royals travel to Half Hollow Hills West on Thursday, Dec. 8, for a 3:45 p.m. non-league game before hosting Miller Place two days later.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Center Moriches sputtered against the swarming defense of Shoreham-Wading River during a non-league basketball game on Monday, Nov. 28.

The Wildcats took a 14-point lead by halftime. Seniors Sophie Costello topped the scoring chart for the Wildcats with 17 points, GraceAnn Leonard banked 13 and Colleen Ohrtman netted 8 in the 50-31 home victory. 

The Wildcats notched their second win in as many games with three more non-league contests to go. They’ll face Sachem East, Newfield and William Floyd before league play begins. 

The Wildcats open their league season on Tuesday, Dec. 13, when they host Hampton Bays at 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

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It was a low scoring ground and pound football game where the Patriots of Ward Melville (No. 4) came knocking on William Floyd’s door the No. 1 seed looking to upset the undefeated Colonials in the Suffolk Div I semi-final Nov. 12. Floyd struck first on a 53-yard pass play 3 minutes before the halftime break but the Patriots quarterback Andrew Belli punched in on a 14 yarder with 5:16 left in the 3rd quarter to even the score. With less than four minutes left in regulation Ward Melville senior running back Nick Gaffney answered the call scoring on a 13-yard run and with Brody Morgans foot, put the Patriots out front 14-7. 

Ward Melville capitalized on a Floyd miscue and took over on the 40-yard line. Protecting the ball and needing a first down the Patriots let the clock bleed out to advance to the final round. 

The win lifts the Patriots to 8-3 and will face Longwood the No. 3 seed, at Stony Brook University Saturday Nov. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for high noon. Tickets can be purchased at: NYSPHSAA – Section XI Events and Tickets by GoFan.

 Photos by Bill Landon

After a deadlocked score at halftime, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats rattled off three unanswered scores in the third quarter, surging ahead at home against the Mustangs of Mount Sinai on Friday, Oct. 21. 

Senior quarterback Dylan Zahn hit wide receiver Kieran Clifford on a 63-yard pass for the touchdown at the 8:27 mark. Zahn then connected with Liam Kershis for the 33-yard play that went the distance for the score six minutes later. 

With 0:17 left in the quarter, Kershis punched in on short yardage to put the Wildcats out front 38-17. Shoreham-Wading River kicker Sean Palmer was perfect on the night, splitting the uprights seven times, one of which was a 24-yard field goal attempt. 

Mount Sinai senior running back Jake Spallina answered back, finding the endzone on short yardage to cut the deficit to 38-23 with eight minutes left. Kershis, who rushed for 121 yards on 14 carries, broke free, covering 27 yards for the score to put his team ahead 45-23 with 3 minutes left in regulation. 

Mount Sinai senior quarterback Jaden Rotella threw deep to wide receiver Drew Feinstein for a 73-yard pass for the score. Feinstein then capped off the drive by running it in on the two-point conversion to trail 45-31, which was the final score. 

Zahn completed 22 of 30 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. 

The win lifts the Wildcats to 4-3 on the season, with postseason play kicking off Friday, Nov. 4.

— Photos by Bill Landon

In a League IV showdown between the Comsewogue Warriors and the Rocky Point Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 24, Eagles’ striker Emely Velazquez would be the difference maker.

The senior scored off a rebound, putting Rocky Point on the scoreboard with 11 minutes left in the opening half. Comsewogue had several scoring opportunities midway through the second half but failed to convert these into points.

Rocky Point goalie Marykate Abernethy had a busy day in net, notching eight saves on the day. The win lifts the Eagles to 3-4 while the loss drops Comsewogue 4-2-1.

Both teams retake the field Thursday, Sept. 29. Comsewogue will travel to Shoreham-Wading River, and the Eagles have a road game against East Hampton. Start times are 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Under brilliant sunshine, the Cougars of Centereach hosted the Bulls of Smithtown East in their Homecoming weekend football matchup on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The game would go scoreless through three quarters of play. On the opening possession of the fourth quarter, senior linebacker Xavier Calixte scooped up a Bulls’ fumble and went the distance, covering 27 yards for the score. Jason Zaita’s foot tacked on the extra point, putting the Cougars out front 7-0.

Smithtown East began to move the chains when senior runningback Ryan Rooney, with less than a minute left on the clock, punched into the endzone on short yardage. Smithtown East went for the win, attempting a two-point conversion run. But this bold maneuver came up short, handing Centereach a 7-6 victory.

Centereach quarterback Riddick Drab had 20 carries for 106 yards in the Div. II contest. The win lifts Centereach to 2-1 in this early season while the Bulls drop to 1-2.

Centereach is back in action on Friday, Sept. 30, when the team will host Huntington at 6 p.m. Smithtown East will celebrate its homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 1, when it will host Connetquot. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon